INDIANAPOLIS –The Indianapolis Colts open up the 2017 regular season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams.
With the season right around the corner, let's take a close look at the matchup:
Week 1:Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles RamsSunday, Sept. 10; 4:05 p.m.Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum2016 synopsis:The Rams in 2016 finished with a 4-12 record, finishing in third place in the NFC West standings. After a season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles reeled off three straight wins – each over quality teams in the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals – but would only win one more game the rest of the way (Week 10 over the lowly New York Jets).
Week 10: Colts vs. Rams
The performance on the year led to the dismissal of Jeff Fisher as the team's head coach; the former Titans coach went 31-45-1 in his five years guiding the St. Louis/Los Angeles franchise. Fisher has been replaced by Sean McVay, who had been the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator. At 30 years old at the time of his hiring, he became the youngest head coach in NFL history.
The Rams are hoping McVay can light a spark in their offense, which finished 32nd in the league last year in total offense (262.7 yards per game) and points per game (14.0).
Los Angeles at first elected to go with veteran quarterback Case Keenum over 2016 No. 1-overall pick Jared Goff. Keenum would complete 196-of-332 passes (60.9 percent) of his passes for 2,201 yards with nine touchdowns to 11 interceptions for a 76.4 QB rating; Goff then played seven games and completed 112-of-205 passes for 1,089 yards with five touchdowns to seven picks.
Running back Todd Gurley last season had a disappointing follow-up to his Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015, finishing with just 885 rushing yards on 278 carries with six touchdowns. Kenny Britt put in a career year a wide receiver in 2016, meanwhile, leading the Rams with 68 receptions for 1,002 yards, becoming the first Ram to surpass the 1,000-yard receiving mark since Torry Holt in 2007.
The Rams' defense, meanwhile, was a different story in 2016, finishing ninth in the league in total defense by allowing 337 total yards per game. The unit was once again led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who led the team in sacks (8.0), pressures (53) and QB hits (26), while his 17 tackles for loss led the entire NFL. In his first year at the MIKE linebacker position, Alec Ogletree had a team-best 171 tackles (132 solo) and had 16 passes defensed, two interceptions and one forced fumble and fumble recovery apiece.
Los Angeles' special teams were led by punter Johnny Hekker, as his 51 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line set a new NFL record. Overall, the Rams led the league with a 4.3 yards-per-return average on punts.
In all, Donald, Hekker and long snapper Jake McQuaide were named to the Pro Bowl for the 2016 season; Donald and Hekker were also named First Team All-Pro.
Key additions:Tackle Andrew Whitworth, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, center John Sullivan, wide receiver Robert Woods, cornerback Kayvon Webster, halfback Lance Dunbar, defensive end Conor Barwin
2017 NFL Draft picks:Tight end Gerald Everett (Round 2, Pick 12), wide receiver Cooper Kupp (Round 3, Pick 5), safety John Johnson (Round 3, Pick 27), wide receiver Josh Reynolds (Round 4, pick 10), outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (Round 4, Pick 19), defensive tackle Tanzel Smart (Round 6, Pick 5), fullback Sam Rogers (Round 6, pick 22), defensive end Ejuan Price (Round 7, Pick 16)
Key losses:Wide receiver Kenny Britt (Browns), safety T.J. McDonald (Dolphins), center Tim Barnes (49ers), defensive tackle Cam Thomas (Chiefs), wide receiver Brian Quick (Redskins), halfback Benny Cunningham (Bears), cornerback Steve Williams (free agent), quarterback Case Keenum (Vikings), guard David Arkin (free agent), tight end Lance Kendricks (Packers), defensive end Eugene Sims (free agent)
Series history vs. Colts:Colts lead, 23-19-2
Last matchup:Nov. 10, 2013: Rams 38, Colts 8; Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
2017 Colts Season Previews:
• Week 1 (at Los Angeles Rams)
• Week 2 (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
• Week 3 (vs. Cleveland Browns)
• Week 4 (at Seattle Seahawks)
• Week 5 (vs. San Francisco 49ers)
• Week 6 (at Tennessee Titans)
• Week 7 (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
• Week 8 (at Cincinnati Bengals)
• Week 9 (at Houston Texans)
• Week 10 (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
• Week 12 (vs. Tennessee Titans)
• Week 13 (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
• Week 14 (at Buffalo Bills)
• Week 15 (vs. Denver Broncos)
• Week 16 (at Baltimore Ravens)
• Week 17 (vs. Houston Texans)
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